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Vine Deloria has expanded the story of the Dakota people with material handed down in his family. In his introductory chapters, Deloria revisits ancestral territory, telling the life stories of his grandfather and his greatgrandfather Saswe (Francois des Laurier), a medicine man whose vision experience would have profound effects on his descendants. Both men played prominent roles in the religious life of the Yankton and Standing Rock Sioux. The Deloria family stories help us understand the revolutionary changes the Sioux were experiencing during this period, and they offer a poignant contrast to Tipi Sapa's descriptions of a distinctive way of life that was already lost to the on rush of history.
Vine Deloria Jr is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and has several degrees. Deloria taught at a number of universities before accepting a position as Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Arizona in 1978, where he helped create a master's program in American Indian Studies. Since 1990 he has held appointments in a number of disciplines at the University of Colorado.